The Clothing Hybrids workshop organised by MODE UNCUT on 10-11 September 2014 for Helsinki Design Week was a great success for all those who participated. We had two days sharing experiences which brought to life a variety of analogue-digital clothing-hybrid concepts which we hope can be developed further. We would like to give a big thanks to the participants for their time and dedication – Mario Cadenas, Reina Magica, Jovana Kacavenda, Natalia Särmäkari, Laura Oula, Eunyoung Park, Ocrum Erdem, Delphine Lewandowski, and Mim Soo. We would also like to thank Zoe Romano, one of MODE UNCUTS’s Board members for giving a stimulating presentation via skype.
The workshop was held at Aalto ARTS FabLab and at Kaupunki Verstas, a public library by the city of Helsinki, hosting a FabLab, open for the general public in the centre of Helsinki. We worked with digital textile printers, 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines and hand tools.
Day 01 – Introduction & Concepts
The first day of our workshop started with a short introductory talk to the subject by Prof. Alastair Fuad-Luke and Anja-Lisa Hirscher, the founding members of Mode Uncut. The presentations can be read, and downloaded via these links:
To stimulate early ideas we had inspiring tours by the technical specialists in the Aalto FabLab and the digital textile printer in the Department of Design, Aalto ARTS, demonstrating the possibilities of rapid prototyping and local digital fabrication.
To capture early thoughts we did a word-circle to see what were the commonly shared ideas and language about clothing hybrids and its potential: attributes such as “MODIFIABLE” & “M.T.O. – Made To Order” seem to offer strong benefits through digital technology in combination with analogue techniques, when designing, making and producing clothing.
We teamed up in smaller groups to further develop our early ideas. Both teams suggested similar ways of encouraging new relationships between designers, makers and wearers of the clothes, via new actors, such as an online networking platform. In discussion the concept of a ‘common pool of elements’, including pattern pieces, modular pieces, components of re-used clothing and digital 3D files, was enthusiastically explored. The participants then worked individually to develop more tangible concepts during the afternoon. At the end of the first day each team or individual presented their embryonic concept and their action-plan in order to have a ready prototype by the end of the second day.
Day 02 – Experimentation & Making
Throughout the day everyone was actively designing, making, printing, cutting and busying themselves either in Aalto FabLab in Arabia or in the second collaborating FabLab at Kaupunki Verstas. Some impressions of the joint making and collaborating are to be found in the gallery below.
We also had a great talk and discussion with Zoe Romano, one of our MODE UNCUT board members and initiator of OpenWear, on the future of the designer, the potential of digital manufacturing and collaborations with designers and fabbers. Her full presentation is here: http://www.slideshare.net/zoeromano/fashion-luxury-and-sustainability-at-supsi-2014
After a hectic day of analogue and digital making we closed the workshop with presentations of four concepts: a co-designed happy raincape; a conceptual web-platform offering modular clothing pieces; re-used and re-designed clothing and accessories from an old jacket; and an evening dress-collection with add-on 3D printed accessories, scaled to a Barbie-doll model. These concepts will be explained further by the individual workshop participants in future blog posts. However, here’s a quick preview:
Modular Evening Dress, with digital textile prints and add-on accessories from the 3D printer
Common Pool Elements C.P.E. – Modular Clothing Platform
Co-Designed Rain-cape with a digitally printed textiles, visualizing images collected by an audience via facebook.
Unstiched and Redesigned from a leather jacket to a modular cap, bag and scarf
The hybridization of digital making culture and analogue techniques offers great potential, which is ripe for further exploration. It would be great to bring these concepts further or let them inspire more thoughts and experiments. For example we could introduce other makers, including professional crafts people, jewellery makers etc, to combine their traditional knowledge with the digital fabrication processes. What could this cross-over generate? Experienting further with small modular pieces from re-used clothing and combining or linking these in different ways and/or laser cutting would be interesting. We were all impressed with the speed and quality of the digital textile printer and laser cutter, but see the 3D printing process as a slower, more specific technology . However, we feel these small experiments show huge potential and raise interesting questions about how people participate in (co-)designing their clothing. We shall discuss with our participants the next steps towards further testing of one of the developed concepts by crowding funding one of the concepts developed. In particular, how can we develop an ‘open’ business model where the citizens, designers and producers are all beneficiaries?
Once again, we’d like extend our thanks to the two FabLabs at Aalto Media Factory and Kaupunki Verstas, to the technicians for their expertise, and to the workshop participants for a stimulating two days.
Anja-Lisa Hirscher and Alastair Fuad-Luke